Friday, May 15, 2009

prayer is a waste of time!

Muslims have to pray 5 times a day and it is a waste of time?

1 day = 24 hours

Chatting + blogging + surfing (Facebook, Friendster, Myspace) = 2 hours
Gossiping = 30 minutes (or more?)
Playing PS2 = 1 hour
Watching TV = 2 hours
Sleeping = 6 to 9 hours
Day – dreaming = 1 hour

1 prayer ± 3 minutes

3 minutes x 5 times prayer = 15 minutes

5 times prayer only cost you about approximately 15 minutes…

So you have the residual of;
24 hours – 15 minutes = 23 hours and 45 minutes to do other things


Monday, March 30, 2009

Why Is Islam seen as Difficult?

Islam is a beautiful, simple religion. But unfortunately many muslims do not practice true Islam. This creates a negative image about Islam until Islam is seen as a religion that is difficult, illogical, barbaric, oppressive of women, unjust and so on.

That is why we cannot learn about and judge Islam based on the doings of an individual Muslim. This is because not everything that Muslims do reflects what is contained in the teachings of Islam. To know the true teachings of Islam, we have to learn it from the original source, namely the Qur’an and as-Sunnah. We can accept or reject the words and deeds of any person, except for Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) who is protected by God from any wrongdoing.

Why is Islam seen as difficult? The following are some of the reasons why Islam is perceived as difficult.

Islam that has become impure

Islam is naturally simple. But when the teachings or practices of Islam are polluted by things that do not come from Islam, the simplicity of Islam is lost, and the religion is seen as difficult.

When a person embraces Islam, he only needs to change his beliefs (akidah) and only has to perform a few particular practices. He can still practice his culture, as long as it does not conflict with the Qur’an and As-Sunnah. He does not need to become an Arab or a Malay, or change his racial identity in any way. But when Islam becomes mixed up with the traditions of a culture, or any made-up practices, it becomes difficult, especially for those who have recently embraced Islam. They are not only told to change their beliefs, but also to change their culture and the habits that they have followed for years.

Hai manusia, sesungguhnya Kami menciptakan kamu dari seorang laki-laki dan seorang perempuan dan menjadikan kamu berbangsa-bangsa dan bersuku-suku supaya kamu saling kenal mengenal. Sesungguhnya orang yang paling mulia di antara kamu di sisi Allah ialah orang yang paling bertakwa di antara kamu. Sesungguhnya Allah Maha Mengetahui lagi Maha Mengenal. (49:13)

Islam that is practiced without knowledge

Many Muslims do not practice Islam with knowledge based on Qur’an and as-Sunnah. As a result, they do not understand the rukhsah (conveniences) that are in Islam.

In addition, they cannot differentiate between cultural traditions and the teachings of Islam.

There are also those who instruct muallaf to do things that do not actually come from the teachings of Islam, such as forbidding them from going back to their families, telling them to break off their relationships with their non-Muslim friends, and so on. In truth, when embracing Islam, a person should become a better son or daughter, a better family member and a better friend.

“Dan Kami perintahkan kepada manusia (berbuat baik) kepada dua orang ibu-bapaknya; ibunya telah mengandungnya dalam keadaan lemah yang bertambah-tambah, dan menyapihnya dalam dua tahun. Bersyukurlah kepada-Ku dan kepada dua orang ibu bapakmu, hanya kepada-Kulah kembalimu. Dan jika keduanya memaksamu untuk mempersekutukan dengan Aku sesuatu yang tidak ada pengetahuanmu tentang itu, maka janganlah kamu mengikuti keduanya, dan pergaulilah keduanya di dunia dengan baik, dan ikutilah jalan orang yang kembali kepada-Ku, kemudian hanya kepada-Kulah kembalimu, maka Ku-beritakan kepadamu apa yang telah kamu kerjakan.” (31:14-15)

Other than that, in many places, people who embrace Islam are told to change their names. This is a very sensitive issue in many cultures. A lot of non-Muslims delay embracing Islam because they are reluctant to change their names. While in truth, Islam does not force a person who has embraced Islam to change their name, as long their name does not have a bad meaning. Good names are Islamic names, regardless of what language they are in. In fact, many of the companions had non-Arabic names such as Salman and Bilal. They were never instructed by the Prophet (PBUH) to change their names to Arabic.

Islam that does not follow priority

Islam is a religion that emphasizes priority. The companions often asked Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), “What (deed) comes first?” or “What (deed in) Islam comes first?” Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) gave different answers to different people based on their different levels and situations.

A person must practice Islam based on priority. That person must not be burdened with drastically practicing all the teachings of Islam. But he or she must first learn the basic knowledge of Islam, including recognizing God and the core issues of Islam, before other matters. If this is not followed, Islam becomes difficult to practice because the foundation for building one’s faith is too weak.

This happens in society when they emphasize matters of fiqh (aspects of law) compared to akidah (belief), emphasize matters of furu’ (branches, i.e. finer points) compared to core issues, emphasize tilawah (recitation of) al-Quran compared to understanding the tafsir (interpretation) or contents of the Qur’an and so on.

Article by zahir & firdaus

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Islam is Simple: Islam is Easy in Practise

God is Most Merciful, Most Gracious and Most Just. He does not burden a person with something that he or she cannot bear.
“Allah burdens not a person beyond his scope."
(Al-Baqarah 2:286)

God judges us based on the best that we can do. God does not compare us to other people. The best that we can do is not the same as the best that another person can do.

When someone embraces Islam, he does not have to drastically carry out all the teachings of Islam. He only needs to do what he can, gradually introducing Islam into his life, step-by-step and at his own pace, according to priority.

The Qur’an came down in stages
In the time of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), the Qur’an was not sent down in one go, but was sent down in stages, over a period of 23 years. Therefore, the companions*
learned Islam from the Prophet and then practiced it gradually, step-by-step.
The Prohibition of Alcohol
Many of the companions were alcoholics and drunkards. They drank alcohol in great quantities. With the coming of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), alcohol was forbidden. But this prohibition did not happen drastically. It occurred gradually.

Beginning with explaining the hazards of alcohol:
“They ask you (O Muhammad) concerning alcoholic drink and gambling. Say: “In them is a great sin, and (some) benefits for men, but the sin of them is greater than their benefit.” And they ask you what they ought to spend. Say: “That which is (spare) beyond your needs.” Thus Allah makes clear to you His Laws in order that you may give thought." (al-Baqarah 2:219)

This was followed by the reduction of the intake of alcohol by forbidding the companions* from performing solat (prayer) while drunk. With this, they had fewer opportunities to drink alcohol.
“O you who believe! Approach not shalat (the prayer) when you are in a drunken state until you know (the meaning) of what you utter…” (4:43)

After that, only then was alcohol forbidden entirely.
“O ye who believe! Intoxicants and gambling, (dedication of) stones, and (divination by) arrows, are an abomination,- of Satan's handwork: eschew such (abomination), that ye may prosper” (5:90)

A lot of rukhsah (convenience)
In Islam, there are a lot of rukhsah (conveniences)that are given to us by God. For example, when we are travelling or sick, we are allowed to not fast in the month of Ramadan and replace our fast on other days.

"Ramadhan is the (month) in which was sent down the Qur'an, as a guide to mankind, also clear (Signs) for guidance and judgment (Between right and wrong). So every one of you who is present (at his home) during that month should spend it in fasting, but if any one is ill, or on a journey, the prescribed period (Should be made up) by days later. Allah intends every facility for you; He does not want to put to difficulties. (He wants you) to complete the prescribed period, and to glorify Him in that He has guided you; and perchance ye shall be grateful" (2:185)
God has given us many more conveniences. For example:
- People who are travelling are allowed to combine and shorten two solats (prayers) in one time.
- People who are sick can combine their solats (prayers) in one time.
- People who are sick can perform solat (prayer)sitting or lying down.
- Food that is forbidden becomes permissible in times of crisis.

“Forbidden to you (for food) are: dead meat, blood, the flesh of swine, and that on which hath been invoked the name of other than Allah; that which hath been killed by strangling, or by a violent blow, or by a headlong fall, or by being gored to death; that which hath been (partly) eaten by a wild animal; unless ye are able to slaughter it (in due form); that which is sacrificed on stone (altars); (forbidden) also is the division (of meat) by raffling with arrows: that is impiety. This day have those who reject faith given up all hope of your religion: yet fear them not but fear Me. This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed My favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion. But if any is forced by hunger, with no inclination to transgression, Allah is indeed Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful (5:3)

* The companions are those who believe, have met Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and have passed away as Muslims.
-article by Zahir & Firdaus

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Islam is Simple: Life is easier with Manual

People always say, “Islam is a difficult religion. So many do’s and don’ts (commands and prohibitions/laws). This is haram, that is haram! What is halal??! It’s so difficult!”
In truth, the commands and prohibitions in Islam are only a few.

For example, Islam prohibits its followers from eating pork. But at the same time, there are hundreds, even thousands of kinds of food that are considered halal.

Islam makes it compulsory for its followers to perform solat (prayer) five times a day. Each solat only takes about 5 minutes. This means, 23 hours and 35 minutes of the day of a Muslim is outside of solat.

Other than that, as has been explained before this, do’s and don’ts in Islam are for the good of mankind himself.

Muslims do not live in trial and error. The entire life of a Muslim is based on a practical manual that was given by the Manufacturer of humanity and the entire universe. The Most Gracious and Most Merciful God sent the Prophet as a technician to explain the manual that was given to humanity so that they may live in the best way.

“…This day, I (God) have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion. But as for him who is forced by severe hunger, with no inclination to sin, then surely Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” 5:3

The teachings of Islam embrace all aspects of life, including personal issues, family, society, law, nationhood, entertainment, economy, military, politics, civilization and so on and so forth. It encompasses the relationship between a human and his God, the relationships between humans and the relationship between humanity and the universe.

Islam does not just revolve around faith, it also revolves around deeds. It does not only give guidance on spiritual issues, it also gives guidance on material, physical, mental and emotional issues.

With this manual, we are not left floundering looking for a path that has been theorized by humans for our lives. God has made our lives more convenient by giving us this all-encompassing manual. What we need to do is only refer to this manual and be obedient to the commands of God.

Monday, February 2, 2009

ISLAM IS SIMPLE: Islam makes life easier

Islam makes life easier

Islam is a unique religion. As explained before this, belief in Islam is not given blindly. It is based on reason and clear evidence. Faith is not blind.

However, when it comes to obedience, we blindly follow God’s commandments without question. Obedience is blind.

Is this logical?

Say we take a small child as an example. The parents of that child forbid him from playing in the middle of the road, or forbid him from playing with fire. But from the child’s perspective, those things are cool and fun. He cries when his parents do not permit him from doing those things.

This is because the child does not know those things are dangerous and harmful to him. His parents know what is best for him, and so they forbid him from things that are harmful.When the child is old enough, his parents send him to school. But from the child’s point of view, playing is more fun than studying in school. Learning in school is boring.

He does not know the importance of getting education at school. And yet, his parents still send him to school because they want a better future for their child.
God is All-Caring and All-Loving. He Knows all that is good and all that is bad for us. Because of His Love for us, He tells us to do the things that are important to us and to stay away from things that are bad for us.

Those who follow the Messenger, the Prophet who can neither read nor write (Muhammad) whom they find written about in the Taurat and the Injil with them – he commands them to do good and forbids them from evil, he allows them as lawful all that is good and prohibits them as unlawful all that is bad, he releases them from their heavy burdens and from the fetters (bindings) that were upon them. So those who believe in him (Muhammad), honour him, help him, and follow the light (the Qur’an) which has been sent down with him, it is they who will be successful.” (7:157)

Often, the wisdom behind a certain commandment is obvious and easily understood. But sometimes the human mind cannot grasp the reason behind a commandment. Even so, because of our faith in Allah that is not blind, we blindly obey the command of Allah.

"And they ask you (O Muhammad) concerning the Ruh (the spirit). Say: “The Ruh (the spirit) is one of the things, the knowledge of which only with my Lord. And of knowledge, you (mankind) have been given only a little.” " (17:85)

This is why, the loyalty of a Muslim to the instructions of Allah is blind and without question. Our obedience is blind.
“The only saying of the faithful believers, when they are called to Allah and His Messenger, to judge between them, is to say: “We hear and we obey”. And such are the successful.” (24:51)

article by Zahir & Firdaus

Saturday, January 17, 2009

ISLAM IS SIMPLE: Islam is easy to understand

Islam is easy to understand

The teachings of Islam are very simple and satisfying to the mind. The concepts behind its teachings are logical, scientific and based on clear evidence.
Allah says:
Say (O Muhammad): "This is my way (religion); I invite unto Allah on clear signs…". 12:108
We are not asked to believe in things that do not make sense. In Islam, there are no mysteries, no room for doubt.
Allah says:
“This is the Book (the Qur'an) whereof there is no doubt; a guidance to those who believe.”
(Al-Baqarah 2:2)

This is the uniqueness of Islam. Faith in Islam is not blind.

Faith and our belief in Allah, the truth of Islam, Prophet Muhammad, the al-Quran and the like is not given blindly. All of this can be proven with evidence that is clear, convincing and easy to understand. This is explained more thoroughly in the coming discussion.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

ISLAM IS SIMPLE: Introduction

Islam is a simple religion. Allah says in the al-Quran:
“…(Allah) has not laid upon you in religion any hardship..”
(Al-Hajj 22:78)

“Allah intends for you ease, and He does not want to make things difficult for you."
(Al-Baqarah 2:185)

The same thing is said by Prophet Muhammad S.A.W:

“Permudahkan, jangan kamu susahkan.”
(Bukhari, Muslim)

“Sesungguhnya kamu semua diutuskan untuk memudahkan, dan kamu semua tidak diutuskan untuk menyusahkan.” (Bukhari)

The changes that need to be done after embracing Islam are only a few:

1. Belief. Nobody knows our faith other than Allah and ourselves.
2. A few physical activities such as solat, fasting, improving way of life, etc.

article by Zahir & Firdaus

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Allah Knows

Allah Knows

When you feel all alone in this world
And there’s nobody to count your tears
Just remember, no matter where you are
Allah knows
Allah knows

When you carrying a monster load
And you wonder how far you can go
With every step on that road that you take
Allah knows
Allah knows

No matter what, inside or out
There’s one thing of which there’s no doubt
Allah knows
Allah knows
And whatever lies in the heavens and the earth
Every star in this whole universe
Allah knows
Allah knows

When you find that special someone
Feel your whole life has barely begun
You can walk on the moon, shout it to everyone
Allah knows
Allah knows

When you gaze with love in your eyes
Catch a glimpse of paradise
And you see your child take the first breath of life
Allah knows
Allah knows

When you lose someone close to your heart
See your whole world fall apart
And you try to go on but it seems so hard
Allah knows
Allah knows

You see we all have a path to choose
Through the valleys and hills we go
With the ups and the downs, never fret never frown
Allah knows
Allah knows

Every grain of sand,
In every desert land, He knows.
Every shade of palm,
Every closed hand, He knows.
Every sparkling tear,
On every eyelash, He knows.
Every thought I have,
And every word I share, He knows.
Allah knows.

Song & lyrics by Zain Bikha
Singer: Zain Bikha & Dawud Wharnsby Ali